Acer Swift 7 hands-on: a svelte and stylish laptop

Behold, the world's thinnest laptop (for now).

HP, ASUS and Lenovo have all unveiled their take on Microsoft's always-connected PC, and it's time for Acer to throw its hat into the ring. The company's offering is not just the thinnest in the category but is also the skinniest laptop in the world. At least, according to Acer, anyway. At 8.98mm (0.35 inches), the Swift 7 certainly cuts a striking profile that I couldn't help but stare at.

Powering this slim machine is a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, which is slightly slower than the eighth-generation CPUs other laptops are hitting the market with. That chipset was still perfectly capable of keeping up with my random app launches and browsing webpages when I played with a Swift 7 sample at Acer's suite, though. The only problem is, for $1,700, I expected a cutting-edge chip and more than 8GB of RAM. It's several hundred dollars more than last year's Swift 7, although it does use an i7 chip instead of the i5 in the older model.

What you're really paying for is the superthin, attractive aluminum chassis. Not only is this Acer's first laptop with an embdedded eSIM but it's also one of the first systems to use Intel's integrated XMM LTE radio with eSIM. Since carriers have yet to announce support for over-the-air data plans, you can use the onboard nanoSIM card slot to connect to data networks for now. The Swift 7 doesn't use a tray like you find on a smartphone; instead, you slide the card into an uncovered socket next to the power port.

The rest of the Swift 7's features are less noteworthy. I found the 14-inch display bright and colorful, and its Gorilla Glass covering made the lid feel sturdy. That's especially important for a device this thin -- despite its wispy profile, the Swift 7 did not exhibit noticeable flex. The same goes for the keyboard -- for a laptop this slim, it's nice to see a setup with what felt like ample key travel (we don't know the exact depth yet). I had trouble reaching for the backspace key at times, but the buttons are otherwise well spaced.

Acer said the Swift 7 should last up to 10 hours, according to its tests on MobileMark 4, which is a few hours more than last year's model. Those looking to connect an array of peripherals will likely be disappointed by the dearth of ports on the Swift 7, though. There are just two USB-C sockets on the left, in addition to the nanoSIM and power slots on the right.

As the connected-PC ecosystem becomes more popular, we'll surely see laptops get smaller, thinner and easier to tote around. Meanwhile, the Swift 7 stands out as a beautifully made, razor-thin laptop that is sure to turn heads.

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